What is it?
Rum & Bones is the equivalent of a base attack and defender video game. Think league of legends or Awesomenauts where you have an army of self-driven units that move forward and do basic attacks while you control a number of heroes that will actively sway the course of battle with abilities.
What do you get?
Rum & Bones comes with a large assortment of miniatures, nicely detailed characters and plain troops. It is set in a pirate theme and has two ships side by side boarding each other. Dice, tokens and cards are also plentiful here. Value wise, it is a nice price point as you get a lot of high grade material and nothing looks or feels cheap.
How does it work?
Each player chooses a faction and then chooses the various heroes they wish to lead the faction. Each turn has the heroes going one by one followed by all the foot soldiers which more often than not expectantly clash in the centre of the board. The vanilla troops are infinite in number and each one killed just suffers the consequence of going back to the start. Ideally, your heroes are trying to break down a section of soldiers faster than they can rally and then you let your troops go to town damaging the enemy ship. The first ship to suffer the most damage loses the game. The heroes all have very different and unique abilities from supporting fire, to close combat, speed and one off attacks. If you lose a hero they have a cooldown to come back and respawn.
Is it any good?
Honestly, it plays out so much like a video game its pretty cleaver as the designers didn’t need to dream up so much of this but just implement it in a suitable way.
The dice mechanic might be the biggest let down to the game as it just plays out the normal 4+ you hit routine more often than not. This isn’t to say it’s a bad game, the heroes phase is pretty spectacular and it’s very rewarding to get one of your plans off for the turn.
There is an inevitable feeling of being overwhelmed and this game has so many options it shouldn’t be treated lightly. The theme is actually what makes it. The option to choose various heroes with very different abilities plays to the games strength.
Rum & Bones on the surface is a really well implemented simulator. I have issues with its replayability as once you feel comfortable with one build you may just keep using that over and over again. It lacks a sort of campaign narrative and a single player option would have been most welcome too. For what it is, it’s a very deep 1v1 with a really fun narrative to it. Is it worth the money? Perhaps.